Tags are keywords or topics used to group related posts together on a more micro level. These are usually people, places, things or subtopics that are used to surface related posts and to help search engines better understand what a post is about. For example, you might have a Category called “Politics” and posts in that Category might have Tags such as “Campaign Finance”, “Election 2016”, etc.

Like Categories, each Tag has an archive page with all posts assigned to that Tag. The URL will have the format http://yoursitename.org/tag/tag-name.

Adding and Managing Tag Terms

Like Categories, Tag terms are added to a post in the post edit screen:

tags panel in WordPress

As a Tag term is entered, any matching terms previously entered will display in a dropdown menu:

tags panel autocomplete

Select the existing Tags whenever they appear in the dropdown.

If a suggested term fits for the post, it should be selected in the drop-down menu instead of typing the same term again. This is very important so you don’t end up with duplicates, or Tags that mean the same thing but have minor differences.

For example, you may want to tag a post with the name of a public figure. For a story involving George H. W. Bush when he was the 41st President of the United States, you might add Tags like:

  • George H. W. Bush
  • George HW Bush
  • President George H. W. Bush
  • George Herbert Walker Bush

Each of these tags is intended to mean the same person, but to WordPress, they are four different Tags. This leads to content disorganization and fragmentation of your Tag archive pages. So it’s a good idea to set editorial standards for use of Tags to prevent confusion on their proper use. This needn’t be too complicated. For example in the above case, it’s probably best to use George H. W. Bush. If the story concerns the United States President, you could add that as a separate Tag term.

Managing Tags

You can create and manage Tags by going to Posts > Tags which opens the Tags list:

Tags list page in WordPress

Like with the Categories list, on this screen you can:

  • Edit existing Tags, and optionally add a description and Featured Image for display on the Tag’s archive page
  • See at a glance how many posts have been assigned each Tag, and click on the Count link to open the Post list screen for just those posts
  • Create new Tags